Monday, May 08, 2017

May 2017 update from Grand Rapids

Our wonderfully mild winter has been followed, as you have probably already suspected, by a gorgeous spring. So, we a couple of weeks ago took the opportunity to go across the street and stroll in Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, savoring blossoms, sun and blue sky. . .

"Baboon with chimpanzee" 1996 by Marshal Fredericks

"Juggler clown, acrobat clown, lovesick clown" 1991 by Marshal Fredericks

We were fortunate to have Easter dinner with the Ten Have Chapman Galloway clans out at Clear Lake -- there's always plenty of lively conversation and great food at their gatherings. We returned just last Sunday to join them all for lunch as they welcomed Berenice's parents who were visiting from France.


OK, here's the backstory: Berenice is from France. She began her American phase of life as an exchange student living with the Ten Have Chapmans and decided to try and make her way in the world from here rather than there, if you get my drift. And just a week ago she graduated form Grand Valley State University here in West Michigan and will spend the summer studying for the CPA exam before heading off to Detroit to work for an accounting firm.

Now, put yourself in her shoes -- even though your feet may be bigger than hers --  you're a young person living in a foreign county, no family, although the THCs have pretty much got that covered now, and you're learning a new language and culture and then decide, "Hey, I'm going to make my way in the world right here and right now." Would any of us be able to do that as an 18-year-old American right out of high school plopped down in Normandy or Brittany? Few if any, I suspect. What she is doing is nothing short of incredible.

Matt, Berenice, her mother and father

Berenice with her parents and John Ten Have

Garrett Ten Have Chapman
The other day we joined a tour group from Aquinas College's Osher Lifelong Learning Center and  took a bus to visit the Detroit Institute of Arts. Visiting the museum had been on our to-do list for some months now and when we heard that the OLLI folks were planning a trip we took advantage of letting someone else drive there and back.

We left Grand Rapids at 8:30 in the morning and were back home by 5:30 -- and since it's about 6 hours there and back we spent about twice as much time on the road as we did on the museum. No matter, we had plenty of time to savor the treasures of all three floors and since it was raining the entire time it was good to be inside anyway.

The building's architecture is fantastic, well-represented by two of the main halls:

Riviera Court

The Great Hall

At the top of our must-see spaces were the Dutch Golden Age, British, Italian, Medieval and Renaissance, and American rooms. We weren't disappointed.

"View of Rutland, Vermont, 1840" by Asher Durand

Self portrait 1887 by Vincent Van Gogh

"Woman in an armchair" 1874 by Pierre Auguste Renoir

"Café scene in Paris" 1874 by Henri Gervex
The one was one of our favorites:
"The nut gatherers" 1882 by Adolphe-William Bougereau

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